EcoTRADE − Ecological Thresholds for Reshaping Ecosystem Networks 

Ameliorating landscapes Driven by Economic development


Department of Economics

Department of Ecological Modelling
Dr. Martin Drechsler, Florian Hartig, Dr. Karin Johst


Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) & Alterra Landscape Centre:
Prof. Dr. Paul Opdam (Coordinator), Dr. Claire Vos and
Dr. Astrid van Teeffelen

(Assoziated) University of Nottingham:
Prof. Dr. Roy Haynes-Young and Dr. Marion Potschin

The University of Queensland:
Prof. Dr. Hugh Possingham


Funded by the ESF and DFG within the EUROCORE Programme: Challenges of Biodiversity Science (EuroDIVERSITY)


2006 − 2009



The European cultural landscape is witnessing an increasing conflict between demands for economic development and needs for ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. Therefore a sustainable strategy is crucial to accommodate for the needs of present and future generations. The EcoTRADE project examines applicability and impacts of tradable permits as an instrument for a flexible biodiversity management.

The project is structured as followed:

1. Analysis of conceptual issues arising from the application of marketable permits to biodiversity conservation

In a first step, resilience and adaptiveness of ecosystems towards spatial and temporal disturbances is examined. The results play a key role for the ecological evaluation of different setups for a permit market. Additionally, we will study the suitability of different habitats to be compared and traded against each other, and therewith investigate which sort of habitats are available for a market of tradable permits at all.

2. Policy evaluation

From the economic perspective, crucial factors for the successful operation of a habitat market like market size, homogeneity of goods, number of potential suppliers and buyers are studied. This is done by analyzing existent trading schemes in selected EU member states and the US (e.g. Wetland Mitigation Banking).

3. Simulation of tradable permit schemes based on scenarios of economic development and ecological simulation models in case studies

With an ecologic-economic model, based on scenarios of economic development for a case study region, dynamics and typical spatial patterns of landscape development for a permit trading scheme are simulated. The gained knowledge about reaction of ecosystems is used to assess the impact of a permit market on biodiversity. The design of the market is optimized with respect to the ecological goals. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of a system of tradable permits will be checked. With the help of conceptual models, the results of the case study will be generalized and the applicability to other regions and species will be examined.